4WD Touring Australia – June 2018

(Ben Green) #1
4wdtouring.com.au | 005


here’s a voice in us that calls us to come touch the void. To tread on ground where men die
cursed deaths. To seek the centre of the universe where the clouds touch the earth.

Mountains have been sacred to every culture that
has seen them, from Mt. Sinai to Mount Olympus,
from Kunlun in China to Uluru in the centre of
Australia’s red wasteland.
The gods live on mountains. Shiva on Kailash,
the Greek pantheon on Mount Olympus. The Inca
built their cities on the highest spurs, the rareed
air acting as a kind of portal to the heavens.
Rivers ow from the mountains, bringing life and
sustenance to the people in the valley. Like those
rivers, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Gibran’s Prophet
and Moses of the Hebrews came down from the
mountain, as Plato’s prisoner, with knowledge
gained in that high country of the mind.
Mountains are mankind’s axis mundii, they are
the navel of the world, an umbilical connecting
heaven and earth, the sacred and the profane.
It anything ever as simple as a metaphor? Does
man worship the mountain simply because it is
earth, raised? Or is there something in mountains
that instills a sense of awe in man, that gives him
knowledge direct that he can’t nd anywhere else
on the planet.
Gibran’s prophet ascended the mountain three
times, over three thousand years, before he could
hear the voice of god. Moses ascended the mountain
to meet with his god, to bring back the law.

Kerouac’s Dharma Bums climb their mountain,
Least Heat-Moon’s Great Divide separates his life
into before and after.
Mountains are more than symbols to men,
it seems. Maybe it’s just the thin air. Maybe it’s
perspective. Mankind grows small from the top of
a mountain, and with it some of the detritus of
what it means to be human.
At the top of a mountain, the space between
life and death can be as narrow as your will. Up in
the high white space, man can become one with
the cosmic axis, where esh becomes a bridge
between the holy and the temporal.
But that’s how rituals, and doorways, and umbilicals
work. Their essence is to be between worlds. Is
the umbilical the mother or the daughter? Is the
threshold without or within?
At the top of a mountain, man is neither corporeal
nor spiritual. He is upon the threshold of a kind
of knowledge that is not enslaved by words. He is
become the wind.
Up here, beyond the preconceptions and
abstractions that have clouded our mind’s eye, the
doors of perception are cleansed, and everything
appears to man as it is: innite.

  • Carlisle Rogers

LEFT: Where heaven meets earth. (Rogers)


en thou carriedst thine ashes into the mountains: wilt thou now carry thy re into the valleys?

  • Friedrich Nietzsche, us Spake Zarathustra

Few people travel here. ere’s no real prot to be made from wandering through it, yet like this high
country of the material world all around us, it has its own austere beauty that to some people makes
the hardships of traveling through it seem worthwhile.
In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty, and
to the enormous magnitude of questions asked, and to the answers proposed to these questions. e
sweep goes on and on and on so obviously much further than the mind can grasp one hesitates even
to go near for fear of getting lost in them and never nding one’s way out.

  • Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

And I’ll climb that hill in my own way,
Just wait a while for the right day,
And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds,
I look down, hearing the sound of the things you’ve said today.
Pink Floyd, ‘Fearless’, Meddle
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